to PokerLizard's newest section, where our roving
correspondent, BadDog, will
offer up poker lessons, tips, trip reports, and
whatever else make his fingers wanna type!
Day by Day Analysis
- Learn what it takes to move on.
- Playing Aces from various positions, Bellagio
Adventures, and more...
The first installment is a Beginner's
Guide to Texas Hold'em. While it's geared towards
first-timers, there are nuggets of information
in here for even the most seasoned veterans.
sit back and enjoy BadDog's lessons honed after
years at the table!
Hold'em - A Beginner's Guide
your seat. Put money on the table. Look at your
cards. Bet - Put money in the center of the table
(the pot). Show your cards and win or lose. Leave
the table to count your money (no singing yet).
simple. If you want to rely on luck then try Keno
or Roulette. Winning may come later. For now let’s
try to play well.
to play well is a must. Winning should take care
of itself if you play well.
We shall assume you can find your seat at a poker
table. If you need help with that, then this column
will be way over your head. We also assume you
can purchase chips and place your blinds and act
in turn. You should know that the button moves
around the table - the button represents the dealer
position and changes with each hand. The dealer
always acts last (well, nearly always). The dealer
is the player with a positional advantage for
one hand - sometimes called “position”.
you could arrange it so that you would always
be the dealer - the button - then your chance
of winning would go up a good bit. The blinds
(those two guys to the left of the dealer button)
are in painful position. If they stay in to see
the flop, the blind hands must thereafter act
first, checking or betting or folding, on each
round - a serious positional disadvantage.
position: the blinds. Best position:
the button or the dealer.
This theorem, rule, paradigm, whatever you may
call it, is assumed true by most players - and
is the truth. And so this is why some players
avoid ever playing the blinds by leaving the table
as the blinds hit their spot and then returning
after the blinds have passed and then “posting”
- such that they avoid ever playing the blind
positions. They do indeed enhance their average
playing position. But - this is a terrible mistake
even though they are thinking and acting on their
blinds are the price you must pay to play and
to see your cards. By never playing the blind
positions, you are passing up about one-fifth
of your hands but still paying (“posting”).
This is too high a price to pay for position.
The position comes anyway if you simply sit and
wait - and the price does not go up for the waiting.
You see 2 extra hands a round of play by paying
and playing the blinds.
the middle position - a little after the blinds
and well before the button - you have several
players who may raise or re-raise after you act.
You therefore need some good stuff to play in
early or middle position.
early position you need more - in middle position
you can play with less [stuff].
before the button you may play a few more hands
then you would play in early position. The catch
phrase is “garbage late” - nah. Not
good. Just as you would never eat garbage
you should never play garbage. You just
don’t always need a pair of aces in late
position to play.
Hands, Bad Hands
So what is a good hand, a bad hand, what is a
playable hand? Let’s start off with 88 and
say that is as bad a hand as you will ever play
late position and on the button you can play 88.
very early position including the blinds you can
play JJ or KQ.
unpaired hands you can play K-10 in late position
and as bad as A-10 early.
can play ace with any card so long as: they are
both of the same suit and when you are on the
button or next to the button. The more “raggy”
the suited card is that goes with the ace indicates
you should be later in the hand when coming in.
If you have ace 7 suited or a card lower than
the 7 then this is a hand you should play only
on the button - and only when there has been no
good decisions take into account both positional
advantage and the quality of your cards.
your first ten playing sessions let’s use
the "LCQ rule" - a rule for playing
before you see any cards but your first 2.
means that your low card (of the 2 in your hand)
is a queen whatever your position might be.
so KQ is the worst hand you would ever play. This
means you are watching and NOT playing a high
percentage of the time you’re at the table.
While you watch, you are supposed to learn.
let’s look at KQ with three sets of flops
(the “flop” is the first 3 cards put
out face up by the dealer - after a round of betting):
or low cards flop
cards flop - queen through 8
flops include ace, queen, jack and similar cards
hand and the FLOPS:
the low cards you will have two “over cards”.
the middle cards you paired the queen and you
have at least a king for a kicker - your “backup”
the big cards - ace, queen, jack you now have
a pair and a 10 gives you the nuts - the “nuts”
is a hand that is not beatable. Granted there
are only four 10s in the deck so this is a hand
you have to play carefully. If there is a bet,
a raise and a re-raise you’d probably throw
away your king queen. (Maybe throw away the hand
for a bet or just one raise - the Queen pair may
all cases: if you’re on the button and it’s
checked to you, then you might bet. Now we see
how position, your hand and the flop works toward
throwing the hand away or betting - all depending
on the circumstances. Hence the usual poker answer
to any question: IT DEPENDS!
want a nut draw - and at least top pair with a
great kicker, and at the very least a couple of
over cards and everybody checking if you’re
going to play on.
these cards: 7 8 suited - with the three flops
we talked about above - you have el zippo on each
one. And so we learn something:
I G cards. Your mantra: big cards. They tend to
get the bucks.
for now. Play ten sessions or more and check back.
Do NOT lose much. Win a bunch. A hint:
When losing - try to lose very little. When winning
- try to win a whole lot.
for reading, and next session, we'll get into
the more Intermediate level of Hold'em play -
this and other strategy in the Lizard Lounge.